Elmer Gantry (1960) - Drama

Hohum Score



A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

IMDB: 7.8
Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons
Length: 146 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 9 out of 83 found boring (10.84%)

One-line Reviews (38)

The only miscasting I see is Patti Page; a wonderful singer, but a pitifully bland actress...

The history behind this blockbuster of a film is fascinating.

Movie Lacks Something, But a Stunning Lead Performance Isn't It .

Arthur Kennedy also is fascinating as the skeptical atheist-type newspaper reporter who softens quite a bit at the end.

Fascinating - 1960's "Elmer Gantry," based on the Sinclair Lewis novel, could be made today with nothing changed and be as powerful - maybe more powerful - than it was in 1960.

" It's much more lacerating, has a similarly riveting church-on-fire denouement, and runs about half as long.

Lancaster is breathtaking in this, the film's quietest line reading.

But honestly there is no plot here and no one wants to watch Burt "My Face is Fastened into a Smile with a Steel Pin" Lancaster exercise his obnoxious grin for that long.

The ending is contrived and utterly ridiculous.

It's timing is between cheezy epics and race films and hits on religion in a very engaging and daring way.

Nonetheless, Simmons gives just as riveting a performance as Lancaster, her character just being lower-key than the fiery "Gantry.

As a Result the Film Suffers from a Conservative Restraint, but is Nevertheless Very Entertaining.

For some reason Richard Brooks seemed to think of himself as the man best suited to turning great novels and plays into films, but if the results were at best entertaining ("The Brothers Karamazov", "Cat on a hot tin roof") they tended to fall far short of the originals.

The film has a backwards feel to it, that it, the earlier scenes where the characters are introduced feel more genuine than the contrived plot twists that come later.

It is a stunning performance.

Jean Simmons is unmemorable; I always thought she was a classy but uninteresting actress.

The rest of the movie is actually quite dull, from photography to colors to everything.

Despite this though the film is still quite engaging and enjoyable as it delves into this world with a certain amount of glee; the fact that it peels off this world to look at Gantry specifically is a bit of a shame because it cuts under that focus a little.

The film is a triumph for Lancaster and Kennedy and for all those who wish to visit a confusing period of Americanna, when the word of God was infected by preachers, pushers and spiritual leeches.

As a big, splashy Hollywood production, "Elmer Gantry" is okay, except for its length, its contrived story, and its exaggerated performances.

The movie is too long, didn't age well and seems to go nowhere.

He writes, "Is it a church, is it a religion or is it a circus sideshow complete with freaks, magic and rabble rousing?

Nevertheless, Burt Lancaster is riveting and Jean Simmons and Dean Jagger have their moments as well.

From the exceptionally talented pen of noted author Sinclair Lewis comes this entertaining story of a fast-talking, yarn-spinning vacuum salesman with the natural gift of persuasion.

Lancaster's intense physicality and Simmons' customary brilliance help, and there's an exciting inferno climax.

"Elmer Gantry" adapts only a small part of the Sinclair Lewis novel, yet it seems far too long.

Unfortunately, the movie is unforgivably dull.

As such, the story seems contrived.

Jean Simmons gives a fair performance, but everyone dulls and becomes bland in comparison to the dazzling Mr. Lancaster.

) bur all is saved by the FABULOUS ending, which is quite unexpected and interesting.

Complex, Fascinating, Relevant; A Must See .

However You See This, It's Fascinating .

We're witness to his meteoric rise within the ranks of the religious road show, we see his stumbles within those ranks and his eventual fall from popularity to an even more impossible grace under fire (literally), but most importantly we see the ability of his character to serve both his rise and fall in ways truly unexpected.

It may be well-suited to the character, but it's a caricature that quickly becomes tiresome.

The film is little more than filmed revival meetings, with two and half hours of loud, over-the-top preaching that is quite tedious to watch.

I get the feeling maybe she immersed herself too much into something over her head, and maybe even the best of intentions can go to extremes.

I mention all these actors before remarking about the story because the acting and the characters are what make this movie so well-done and entertaining.

The film's slant may be predictable, and it also suffers from some common flaws of its era (an ugly, intrusive Andre Previn score, and occasionally wooden acting); but it's hugely entertaining nonetheless.